Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Shell Houston Open
The Masters is only a week away, but don't let that draw your attention away from this week's PGA event.
If history is any indication, the Shell Houston Open will come down to the wire. The past eight iterations have yielded four playoffs, and the winning margin has been one stroke each year, aside from 2011.
What do you need to know about the course -- the Golf Club of Houston's Tournament Course -- this week when building your FanDuel lineups?
Course and Tournament Overview
GC Houston is a 7,457-yard par 72. Last year, it was the eighth-longest course on the PGA Tour.
The field returns to the 144-man setup after a two-event weekend last week and an invitational the week before. The top 70 after the second round will advance to play the weekend.
GC Houston has graded out below par the past two seasons. In 2015-16, the course played 0.092 strokes below par, making it the 13th-easiest of 22 par 72s last season. It was the eighth-easiest par 72 the year prior, at 1.108 strokes below par.
In 2013-14, GC Houston played 0.268 strokes above par.
Recent Tournament History
Jim Herman earned an invitation to the Masters after winning this event last year at -15, going below 70 in all four rounds. Henrik Stenson (-14), Dustin Johnson (-13), and Rafa Cabrera Bello (-12) rounded out the top four, and Daniel Berger (-11) and Russell Henley (-11) tied for fifth.
Herman had a sole bogey in Round 1 and Round 4 and was bogey free in Round 3.
In 2015, J.B. Holmes defeated Johnson Wagner and Jordan Spieth in a three-man playoff at -16. Henley (-14) was fourth outright, and four players tied for fifth at -13: Keegan Bradley, Brendon de Jonge, Charles Howell III, and Cameron Tringale.
Wagner posted four sub-70 rounds, and Spieth hit 70 only in Round 4. Holmes, conversely, was up and down: 65, 70, 73, 64. He birdied 9 of the first 12 holes in Round 4.
The year prior, Matt Jones and Matt Kuchar went to a playoff, with Jones emerging victorious. Both were -15 through four rounds. Sergio Garcia (-13), Tringale (-12), Shawn Stefani (-10), and Rickie Fowler (-9) were also in the top six.
Certain stats, such as strokes gained: tee-to-green, birdie or better percentage, and putting efficiency will always be worth monitoring, but these are some of the most important stats to look for when rostering golfers at GC Houston.
|Key Stats for the Shell Houston Open at GC Houston|
|Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green|
|Greens in Regulation Percentage|
You can lock and load strokes gained: tee-to-green and birdie-or-better percentage into your research process each week, and for this course, you might want to break down strokes gained: tee-to-green and favor strokes gained: approach-the-green.
Other than those stalwarts, scrambling is something to hone in on while narrowing your player pool this week. Last year, Herman was tied for fourth in the field in scrambling, and with bunkers everywhere, scrambling and sand saves should be high on your checklist.
Of course, it'd be more ideal to avoid green-side hazards, so give weight to greens in regulation percentage.
Lastly, you can prioritize bombers over accurate drivers this week -- though it's always enticing to focus on players with good drives regardless. In 2015, J.B. Holmes won the entire tournament despite ranking last in driving accuracy.
Course History Studs
In the past 10 years, this event has seen 10 different winners, but few of them really have strong history here despite the wins.
Hunter Mahan won in 2012 but then missed the cut the following year and in 2016 but notched a T25 in 2015 and T31 in 2014. In all, he has five top-25s and four missed cuts in his nine events here since 2007.
In 2013, D.A. Points won, a year after missing the cut. The following two years, he missed the cut. In 2016, he was T72.
Somewhat similarly, Matt Jones' history since 2010 reads: missed cut, missed cut, did not start, T38, 1, missed cut, missed cut.
J.B. Holmes made five straight cuts and won here in 2015.
Lee Westwood missed two straight cuts here, but prior to that, he was seven-for-seven since 2007 with five top 25s.
Charley Hoffman has made nine cuts in nine tries since 2007, including three top 25s and a top 10.
The real course stud here is Phil Mickelson. Since 2010, Mickelson has a T35, a win, a T4, a T16, a T12, a T17, and a T13. That's six top-25s, two top-10s, and a win. He also had a T23 in 2008 and missed the cut in 2009.